Monday June 22
We were bidden to tea. After Eddie had done full justice to the profiteroles he felt the need to explore the garden. A little later I went to join him. And he had made a discovery. On the ground, some interesting and unusual little pellets of stuff.
It was a delightful find. As nice a turd as you’ll find anywhere. “Hedgehog!” I said. “Hedgehog poo.” And Eddie was pleased, but in a quiet and thoughtful way. There is a pleasing mystery in all this. A hedgehog certainly passed this way, but it did so at least 12 hours ago.
And yet we still knew.
Privileged information. A bit like being a magician.
I’m no great expert, but I can’t resist a good turd. I have a good few turd-photos on my phone, all of them with my Swiss Army knife in shot to give a scale. I’ve found otter turds in the garden, as well as the droppings of Chinese water deer, who love it out here on the edge of the Broads.
Even when they’ve gone, these animals can’t hide from me. A thrilling thought, however patchy your knowledge really is. The day before, Eddie and I were walking down the lane when he discovered a path. Well, more a tunnel. I’d missed it myself.
“Brilliant find!” It was a deer-track, made by the Chinese water deer. The path came down a bank – you could see freshly bent nettles and cow parsley – before crossing the road. There was a fence in the way, but a deer would make nothing of that. And then on into the eternal marshes of the Broads.
A path, a secret path to a deer’s secret garden. But Eddie and I know about it. For each person, the wild world is a kind of secret.